Bernard didn't intend taking "Sunshine" any further than Rugeley today, where he'll stop for a while before resuming his summer trip to the North.
Even so, we were away quite early from our mooring below the lock. At the top a hire boat had moored on the lock landing and that, and the position of the by-wash, made picking up Bernard after he'd closed the top gate, less straightforward that it should have been. I've no doubt it was ignorance rather than malice on their part, but it put me in a bad mood and I must confess that I didn't feel the need to slow down as we passed them after leaving the lock.
The CRT volunteers at Fradley locks were out in force, which meant no queue for once although the lockie just below the junction was being left to guess whether boats approaching from above were intending to come through his lock or turn right towards Coventry. Apparently there is a system of signals but his oppo on the lock above wasn't using it!
An early start and no delays (and nothing much to stop for) meant we were in Rugeley by early afternoon so after a bite to eat I left Bernard on the boat and caught the 825 bus to Stafford, where I had time for a couple of pints of Titanic Brewery beer in "The Sun" (well I had been in "Sunshine" for three days) before catching a train to Crewe and another to Lancaster. As these were both Virgin Trains nobody bothered looking at my return ticket and I'm sure Richard Branson won't mind me using it again.